If your parent has recently been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, her world may be looking a little different as she learns how to manage her diabetes and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As her caregiver, yours may look a little different too, as you help her implement new changes to the way she lives her life and manages her diagnosis. While you have a team of medical professionals to let you know what you should implement at home and beyond, you will probably need some additional help in the home by other caregivers or possibly even a home health care provider who is trained to assist with medical needs.
Let’s look at some changes you and your parent will want to make in her home in order to help her manage her Type 2 Diabetes.
Changes in the diet.
Your parent will need to be more aware of what she can and cannot eat with Type 2 Diabetes. The right foods can be an ally for your parent’s body as it strives to keep its blood sugar levels at the right level. There are four key areas that you’ll want to help your parent monitor to stay healthy. You may even consider having your parent’s home health care provider help by preparing meals that meet the new requirements.
Counting carbs and splitting them evenly between meals will help stabilize your parent’s blood sugar levels.
Eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods will help your parent stay full longer and aids in digestion as well as blood sugar levels.
Since diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, eating a low-fat diet will help combat that possible consequence of having diabetes.
Reducing salt intake helps keep blood pressure levels where they should be and since diabetes can often lead to high blood pressure.
Monitoring blood sugar levels.
Your parent can monitor her blood sugar levels at home with home equipment such as blood sugar meters. Knowing where her levels are at will help her take immediate action if they are not in a healthy range. Many meters simply prick the finger to get a reading, but there are others that can be used on the arm or leg. Having a home health care provider ensure your parent is tracking her blood sugar levels regularly and then recording them will help your parent discover how to best manage her blood sugar levels.
Managing her weight.
If your parent is overweight, her doctor may suggest she lose some weight to help her manage her Type 2 Diabetes better. Even a 10–15-pound weight loss can have significant health benefits. Weight loss can lower blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and even give your parent more energy to move and exercise more.
Getting a good night’s sleep is an important part of managing your parent’s diabetes. Not receiving good sleep each night can make it much harder to manage blood sugar levels. If your parent has a hard time falling asleep, help her evaluate what she does each night before bed to see if some habits need to be changed to help her make sure she sleeps well each night. If she continues to struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, talk to her doctor about other options such as medication or perhaps a breathing device.
A diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes does require some changes in your parent’s lifestyle in order to ensure she is able to continue to live independently and well despite the disease. With a good support team (and a willing participant), you’ll be able to help your parent regain her quality of life.